Does Apple's iPod shuffle need more than 2GB of storage?

Some Apple customers wonder why the iPod shuffle still offers only 2GB of storage. Should the company increase the storage capacity of the iPod shuffle in a future release?

Apple's line of iPod products has taken a back seat to the iPhone, in a very big way in recent years. I can't really blame Apple for this, sales of iPod products have declined as most people opt for an iPhone instead. So the company has put its design, marketing and manufacturing efforts into the iPhone rather than the iPod products.

But products like the iPod shuffle do offer an important alternative to the iPhone for some users. The iPod shuffle can be quite useful for workouts and other situations where handling or carrying an iPhone might be problematic.

The iPod shuffle still offers just 2GB of storage. And there's no way to buy a model with more. For some users 2GB is fine, but others are irritated that Apple has not increased the iPod shuffle's storage.

This issue recently got the attention of some Apple redditors, and they were not shy about sharing their thoughts about it:

B1GEast: ”Apple has a history of neglecting product lines, simple as that.”

D27A341: ”Yeah but it's been over five years now since the last hardware revision. When was the last time a product line was neglected for that long?”

Allegrorequiem: ”Or they're just waiting to kill it. Of course I don't want that to happen.”

ElDiablo: ”The last generation of iPod Classic went quite a while (7 years (overall design) and 5 years (specs)) without being updated. They just appear to not be terribly concerned with the iPod family.”

Keeloi79: ”I have a suspicion it will be axed at some point to force people into buying the nano. Even though there might still be a market for the shuffle by acing it, Apple will force buyers onto a new product.”

Owlsrule143: ”You realize the iPod market is tiny and hasn't been something anybody has been asking for for several years? ”

Abeliangrape: ”They make $200B of revenue a year. Some potatoes are just too small for them to pick.”

Kirklennon: ”Because it's the Shuffle. It's meant to hold a small amount of music for your workout, etc. It's not meant to be a repository for your entire music collection.”

Mmarkklar: ”It's all about product concept and positioning, and you're really the only one to touch on that. The iPod shuffle is the cheap player for active or irresponsible users. It's meant for workouts and kids. The iPod nano is the step up, if you want more than a 2GB iPod shuffle, Apple wants you to go for the iPod nano instead.

Besides, with no screen, how the hell would you navigate more than 2GB of music? The iPod shuffle is only really meant to hold a playlist, not multiple albums.”

D27A341: ”2GB is not a tremendous amount of space though, even for compressed music. If you encode with decent quality, you could easily play through all 2GB of music before the 15-hour battery is exhausted. ”

More at Reddit

As you can tell from the comments, some users are quite irritated with Apple. Others seem to be much more understanding. And there are a few who seem sure that Apple is planning to kill the iPod shuffle since it's been a few years since the last release of the product.

What's the purpose of the iPod shuffle?

As much as I'd like to sympathize with those who want more storage in the iPod shuffle, I really have to take Apple's side on this issue. When we consider the amount of storage a product should have, we have to consider what it's purpose is in the first place.

The iPod shuffle is not meant to be a repository for all of a person's music. It's designed to be a tool that lets you carry just enough music for you to get through your workout, walk or whatever you do while listening.

It's very much a specialized device rather than a jack of all trades like the iPhone or iPod touch. So adding a bunch more storage space would probably be just excessive for the needs of most of Apple's iPod shuffle customers.

Oh sure, I know that some folks would love to have a 128GB iPod shuffle. But I suspect that they are very much in the minority. Most iPod shuffle users are also probably not going to want to pay a lot more for a version of the device with tons of storage.

So I wouldn't hold my breath for Apple to release a new version of the iPod shuffle with huge amounts of storage. I just don't think it's going to happen, given the purpose of the device. At best we might see a 4GB or an 8GB iPod shuffle released someday, and that will probably be more than enough for most people.

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